While the media was obsessing about COVID-19, Japanese scientists have been working to smell out cancer, slow age-related illnesses, bring tears to dry eyes — and cure male-pattern baldness. Read on:
- A research team has confirmed cases of pediatric lung cancer resulting from a mother-to-baby transmission of cervical cancer during birth, in a world first. Two boys were found to have developed lung cancer after swallowing amniotic fluid containing cervical cancer cells in their first cries.
- A team led by a University of Tokyo professor has developed a sensor to detect an odor substance found in the breath of cancer sufferers using mosquito olfactory receptors. The team aims to put the sensor, which can be created at low cost and is highly accurate, to practical use within a decade.
- Researchers from Japanese universities have discovered a medical agent capable of only removing senescent cells, which can cause aging-related diseases such as arteriosclerosis and diabetes. The breakthrough holds out the promise of slowing the advance of diseases associated with old age.
- Osaka University researchers have succeeded in creating conjunctival cells — which are key to producing tears — from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Meanwhile, down the road in Kobe, a hospital performed the first clinical trial of a transplant of iPS photoreceptor cells to treat pigmentary retinal degeneration.
- Scientists with the Riken institute have identified stem cells vital for hair regeneration, aiming to launch clinical research to apply those cells to therapy for male-pattern baldness. The team plans to culture hair follicles taken from those with the condition, then implant the cultured cells back in their heads.